International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning

, 3:195

The Complex Process of Converting Tools into Mathematical Instruments: The Case of Calculators

  • Dominique Guin
  • Luc Trouche

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009892720043

Cite this article as:
Guin, D. & Trouche, L. International Journal of Computers for Mathematical Learning (1998) 3: 195. doi:10.1023/A:1009892720043


Transforming any tool into a mathematical instrument for students involves a complex ‘instrumentation’ process and does not necessarily lead to better mathematical understanding. Analysis of the constraints and potential of the artefact are necessary in order to point out the mathematical knowledge involved in using a calculator. Results of this analysis have an influence on the design of problem situations. Observations of students using graphic and symbolic calculators were analysed and categorised into profiles, illustrating that transforming the calculator into an efficient mathematical instrument varies from student to student, a factor which has to be included in the teaching process.

instrumentation processinstrumental genesisgraphic and symbolic calculatorsstudent behaviourconceptualisation processlimitsclassroom practice

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominique Guin
    • 1
  • Luc Trouche
    • 1
  1. 1.Département de Mathématiques, E.R.E.S., Place Eugène BataillonUniversité Montpellier IIMontpellier Cedex 5France E-mail